Album Cover Meme - The Ultimate Seduction

Posted by Brandon |

Of all the memes going around Facebook right now, this is easily my favorite...

  1. Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random... Read More” or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random. The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
  2. Go to "Random quotations" or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
  3. Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days. Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
  4. Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.
  5. Post it to FB (or your blog) with this text.

I've actually done three of these album covers so far, though I've done all of them really quickly. I'm sure I could've done a lot more with them if I had a little more time, but this is what I came up with...

Morning Becomes Eclectic
darlings CaƱada del Hoyo and their Spanish/Japanese fusion album "The Problem is the Problem".

If Nation Brands Index's album "This Is The Ultimate" doesn't make KEXP's Top 90.3 of 2009, I'll shit myself.

Without question, this is "The Ultimate Seduction" in Grand Coulee, Saskatchewan. Easily my favorite of the three.


Jim Henson's Fantastic World

Posted by Brandon |

I've always wondered if somewhere in Los Angeles there is a warehouse filled to the brim with all the stuff that Jim Henson produced over the years. It would probably be filled with some of the amazing pieces they created for Labyrinth, all of the Fraggles, the Skeksis from The Dark Crystal, hundreds of Muppets....etc. I dream about being set loose in that warehouse digging through boxes and bins discovering all the things that Henson did and the Jim Henson Company has been doing (for better of for worse) since his untimely passing in 1990 (wow, has it really been that long?).

Well, today I stumbled upon the news that there is a traveling Smithsonion exhibition called Jim Henson's Fantastic World that features over 100 pieces of art, storyboards, puppets, videos and photographs that will be at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, May 23rd to August 16th. I'm really excited to see this exhibition. I'm sure my curiosity and my dream to be set loose in the warehouse won't be totally fulfilled, but just to get an opportunity to see some of these pieces from one of my favorite artists will be wonderful. The exhibition is currently on display at the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, Florida until May 3rd.

And while doing some Googling about the Henson exhibition, I learned of the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia. The CPA already houses a few Henson items - Henson and Kermit actually cut the ribbon when the center opened in 1978 - including the aforementioned Skeksis. But what really caught my attention is that they are opening a new wing of the center devoted to Henson (links to a PDF). It's going to feature 500-700 retired Muppets, a ton of artwork, drawings and videos. It's not slated to open until 2012 though and because of our financial turmoil, I'm a little worried about it, but if it does open, I'll be making the trip to Atlanta to see it. It sounds like my kind of museum.

Addie and I watch Sesame Street almost everyday and not a day goes by that I don't think about all the great things that Jim Henson would probably still be producing if he were alive today. I think the world really misses his genius and it makes me sad that Addie won't get to grow up with Henson in the same way that I grew up with Henson. His creations live on, but they aren't even close to being the same without him.


Clap Happy

Posted by Brandon |

Tonight we all watched Obama's State of the Union speech Congressional Address, including little Addie May.

Addie loves to clap now, especially when other people are clapping. And if there is one thing that the State of the Union Congressional Address is, it's definitely a festival of clapping. Good god, do our representatives love to throw some claps down. The applause is always off the charts at a State of the Union. So whenever Obama said something great and the place got all clap happy - and he said a lot of clap happy things tonight - Addie started pounding her little hands together like crazy.

Now, I know that if she were able to clap last year or the seven years prior, she probably would've been clapping no matter what sludge came out of George W. Bush's mouth. But to see her sitting there, watching Barack Obama give his first State of the Union Congressional Address, clapping along to universal health care or whatever, it made me very, very proud and very hopeful and very thankful that we finally have someone in office that I have no problem with my one year old daughter giving a round of applause to.

So thank you Barack Obama and thank you America for sparing me the absolute shame and horror that I would've felt had we been watching our little girl clapping along to George W. Bush or John McCain's State of the Union speech.


DWP! Review: Gallagher's Where-U-Brew

Posted by Brandon |

I know this is a little lame, but I'm going to start cross posting my Yelp reviews on DWP! so that the material isn't just on the Yelp site. I might even migrate all my reviews over here eventually. I think I'm getting a little paranoid.

I'm not totally sure how all of the recipients felt about it, but I think the Christmas presents that I made at Gallagher's Where U Brew this year were some of the best presents that I've ever given away and I had a ton of fun brewing the beer - WAY better than shopping.

I chose to brew a beer that they had on tap that night called the Giant Octopus of Winter (why that name, I don't know). It was an IPA style with a hint of oranges in it. I know, oranges don't really scream winter ale, but it worked and it really hits the spot up against any of the other winter ales that I like to drink. I was really impressed with the flavor.

So they give you the recipe, show you were everything is, and let you go to it. They have all the equipment and all of the ingredients, you just have to supply the manpower. The guys are really nice and are easy to track down, most of the time. When it's really busy in there, they are sometimes hard to get a a hold of if you are confused by something, but the process is more or less straight forward and written out so it's really not that difficult.

Most people that come into Gallagher's come in a small group and that's definitely the way to go. Since I was giving away the beer to all of my friends, I ended up doing the brewing by myself. It was fine, and I socialized a bit with some of the other guys that were brewing, but next time I'll definitely bring at least one other person. Especially to the bottling. Two weeks after you brew, you go in and bottle and especially if you are by yourself, it's a really tough job. It took me over two hours to bottle 135 bottles of beer and by the end of it, I was beat. That is definitely a two or even three person job.

Like I said, I got 135 bottles of beer. I paid $155 for the brewing process and I had to purchase bottles, which was another $50 or so. One of the biggest tips I can give you to save money is to start saving all the non-twist top beer bottles that you drink.. Just rinse the bottle out with a little bit of soap and let it dry and store it somewhere until it's time to bottle your beer. They'll sanitize it for you and provide the caps.

They don't offer any kind of labeling, but all you have to do to add that professional touch to your beer is go to Staples or Office Depot and pick up some address labels, design yourself a label and slap it on there. It's not perfect - the labels aren't waterproof - but they looked great when given as a present and still look great after a month in the fridge.

I'll definitely be back to Gallagher's, in fact I could see this becoming a long time Christmas tradition. And since they have a handful of their tasty brews on tap, I'll probably stop in there between the holidays too.

Verdict: Five Pants Down! (equals five stars)

Gallagher's Where-U-Brew

120 5th Ave S
Edmonds, WA 98020
(425) 776-4209


Moral Kiosk

Posted by Brandon |

Somebody went to Archie McPhee today and somebody LOVED it...and Addie had fun too.

Anyway, what's with Facebook and all the memes lately? I think non-bloggers and non-MySpacers have just discovered them. Anyway, I did one tonight just for the hell of it and so I can show off my kickass iPod...

1. Put Your iTunes on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.


1. What the hell happened to question number one on the meme you copied?
"Marijuana" - Reverend Horton Heat [Oh...makes sense Courtney!]

2. What do your friends think of you?
"Hide Away Folk Family" - They Might Be Giants

3. If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say?
"Already Too Late?" - Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

4. How would you describe yourself?
"We Are Wild Stallions" - The Riot Before

5. What do you like in a guy/girl?
"Australia" - The Shins

6. How do you feel today?
"Friend is a Four Letter Word" - Cake

7. What is your life’s purpose?
"Jerry Falwell Destroyed Earth" - Ben Kweller

8. What is your motto?
"Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits" - Magnetic Fields [Perfect!]

9. What do you think about very often?
"Crash Course" - Crash Test Dummies [Yes, I have Crash Test Dummies on my iPod, deal with it Cate Blanchett]

10. What is 2 + 2?
"Come Undone" - Duran Duran

11. What do you think of your best friend?
"OK With My Decay" - Grandaddy

12. What do you think of the person you like?
"Elevation" - Television [Yes!]

13. What is your life story?
"Space Oddity" David Bowie [If only I were that androgynous]

14. What do you want to be when you grow up?
"You Can Be As Loud As The Hell You Want (When You're Making Love)" - Avenue Q

15. What do you think of when you see the person you like?
"That's Amore" - John C. Reilly [We are married after all]

16. What will you dance to at your wedding?
"Dusseldorf" - Regina Spektor [If we ever renew our vows, maybe]

17. What will they play at your funeral?
"Commotion" - Credence Clearwater Revival [Fuck yeah, Credence!]

18. What is your hobby/interest?
"Square One Here I Come" - The Hives

19. What is your biggest fear?
"It Hasn't Happened Yet" - William Shatner

20. What is your biggest secret?
"Time For Livin" - Beastie Boys

21. What do you think of your friends?
"Hang On To Your Ego" - Beach Boys [fucking stuck up friends!]

22. What will you post this as?
"Moral Kiosk" - REM


Editing For TV Fail

Posted by Brandon |

Noticed this while watching Idiocracy on Comedy Central tonight...

At first, the restaurant Butt:Fuckers is edited for TV.

Then, seconds later, there is Butt:Fuckers in all of it's glory.

I think Comedy Central has Frito working in standards and practices.


Some Valentine's Day in Seattle Suggestions

Posted by Brandon |

First of all, thank you for bearing with me while I took a short break from blogging. Don't know why, but it just wasn't working this week. I'm not totally sure if it is working now, but at least I'm writing a post.

Tonight the wife and I celebrated Valentine's Day a day early. I got her flowers, cards from me and Addie, tickets to see Super Diamond - a Neil Diamond tribute band - later this month when we'll really do Valentine's Day right (you know, a night out without the baby), and I made a nice dinner. I even went out and bought Tropic Thunder but didn't end up watching it. It was a very good V-Day considering we had our little girl here and it came a day early since Death? has to work all weekend and I'm going to Olympia tomorrow.

It got me to thinking about some of our other Valentine's Day dates. We're not one for the traditional so no super fancy dinners or anything like that. Usually it consists of staying home and either cooking or getting take-out and watching movies. Let's be honest, lots of times those are the best dates.

But when we lived in Seattle a few years ago, we had three really memorable going out dates that I would like to share and offer as suggestions for you Seattlites that may not know what to do tomorrow...

  1. Ethiopian Food - Our very first Ethiopian food experience came on Valentine's Day. I can't remember the name of the restaurant but it appears that it no longer exists or has been replaced by Awash, another Ethiopian restaurant (I know Awash wasn't the places name). I can't really explain why Ethiopian food is good for Valentine's Day, I just know that it is. It has something to do with eating with your hands and sharing plates and all of the wonderful vegetables and exotic flavors. It just works. I haven't had Ethiopian food since we've come back to Seattle, so I can't recommend a place, but there are plenty to choose from and most of them seem to have a four star rating on Yelp.

  2. Hot Pot - One year we went to Seven Stars Pepper and had a big old bubbling vat of soup called Hot Pot. They bring you out this crazy broth to your table top stove, they then bring you uncooked meats and vegetables and fish and, really, whatever you want and you sit there and cook all the meats and veggies in the broth. It's delicous and fun and for someone that's never had hot pot or, in the same vain, Korean BBQ, it's can be quite the experience. Again, it all comes down to the exotic flavors and adventurous cuisine and the sharing that make a hot pot at Seven Stars Pepper a really great Valentine's Day meal.

  3. Kenyon Hall - Formerly Hokum Hall, this West Seattle gem of a theater keeps Vaudeville alive and well. I can't figure out whether or not they have a Valentine's Day show tomorrow, but the year that we went for V-Day was great. It was old timey songs and skits all about love, lots of them very funny - plenty of Tom Lehrer songs - and lots of them very sweet. They have a beautiful circa-1929 Wurlitzer organ that is masterfully played by theater manager Lou Magor, who also does a lot of the singing. If they do have a V-Day show - which it doesn't look like unfortunately, I highly recommend checking it out. I highly recommend checking it out some other day as well.

And if all else fails, just rent a movie and watch it at home. If I may, can I suggest Secretary?

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!


Fish & Street Meat

Posted by Brandon |

I love Vancouver! This is the view from our hotel room. We 're right downtown within walking distance to nearly everything and although the room is a little out of date, it's still nice enough for us and there is tons of room for Addie to crawl around and you can't beat it for the price.

Our first stop of the day was the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park. It's easily one our favorite aquariums that we've ever visited. It's maybe not as big as the Boston Aquarium or has as many touch tanks as the aquarium in Long Beach, but the Beluga Whales, the dolphins and the above Amazon exhibit make up for what it's missing. The fish in the picture above are HUGE. Addie loved these things despite absolutely dwarfing her and looking like dinosaurs.

She also loved the Harbor Seals. They are very much like puppies of the sea. I love them too.

Then our foodie tour of Vancouver began. It started down near Granville Island with a stop at Go Fish Ocean Emporium. This little tiny shack with a handful of seats makes the best fish-n-chips. And the fish tacones - basically big old super delicious fish tacos - are arguably the best fish tacos that I've found since moving from SoCal and they even rivaled those in flavor. The fish was so fresh...

...as it should be considering that when you turn around, there is most likely the boats that caught it. Even Addie loved it. She ate her first fish, a little bit of halibut and a little bit of salmon.

We then went shopping at the amazing Granville Public Market where Death? bought a bunch of cheese and salami from her favorite cheese and meat stand, Oyama Sausage Company. We also had the greatest piece of chocolate ever from Rogers' Chocolates. I think I would kill for another Ice Wine Truffle right now.

Later, we ended up getting some street meat for dinner. But this is no average hot dog stand. No, this is Japa Dog...

Japanese style hot dogs with things like teriyaki sauce, miso, nori, radishes, diakon sprouts, fish flakes, black hog sausage...it was all so good. We had to get one of all the specialties even though it was a lot of food.

So there you have it, our first day in Vancouver. We've barely even scratched the surface of this town yet, luckily we have been here a lot in the past so we don't need to see everything and we have to take it easy because of Addie. If tomorrow is nice we're going to bike around Stanley Park before heading to the Canucks game.

Did I mention I love Vancouver?


In Vancouver

Posted by Brandon |

"O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee."

I'm going to say it...that song kicks the Star Spangled Banner's ass! Boom, roasted!

Yes, we're in Vancouver for the weekend. I normally would say there won't be any blogging here for a while, but for the first time ever, I've taken my laptop on a trip and after paying $9 Canadian a night for wifi, here I am. I'm totally cool with that, I've already Yelped a ton of places in which we could eat and since we now have a small child that kind of requires an 8:00 PM bedtime, we'll be in our hotel room a lot more than we used to be.

So what I'm trying to say is, I might blog a little while I'm here...if you're lucky (Ha! Who am I kidding with that line?).

I know that there are some people that find this to be the lowest form of blogging, but I really want to try to start documenting my day more with my posts, not necessarily for you the reader, but more for me as part of my own personal diary I suppose. It's going to be more about documenting events or places I went to than anything. It may not make for the best blog, but it'll keep me more interested and give me lots more to write about on a day-to-day basis. Anyway, here's more or less the first one...

Tonight I traveled to Southern California Kirkland, Washington - where I was nearly run off the road by a guy in a BMW and minutes later by one in a hulking SUV of some kind - to see the uber-Christian Northwest University Eagles take on my hometown uber-liberal The Evergreen State College Geoducks in basketball. NAIA Division II basketball....Catch the Fever!

The Pavilion at Northwest University has to be the smallest venue I've ever seen a college basketball game in. Only South Puget Sound Community College can rival the itty-bittiness of this gymnasium. It only has six rows of seats on each side and without any room on the baseline, one bad foul on a layup and you could end up sprawled out halfway up the gym wall. Of course that means that it's easy to fill up and on this night I'd say that 500 of the 550 seats in the place were full. And with nowhere for the sound to go, it got loud in there at the end.

That's Evergreen head coach Jeff Drinkwine trying to get his players to get in the game. The Geoducks came into the game at 10-4 in conference and 14-7 overall but were given a very strong test from 11-12 Northwest. League leading scorer Nate Menafee scored 23 points, but they were kind of silent because Northwest's Marcus Wright blanketed him all night long, hardly letting him breath. I was impressed with his defense and I was surprised to see that Menafee ended up with 23. He made the most out of all of his shots.

The Eagles took the lead with 30 seconds left before Evergreen's Julio Feliciano put in an easy layup with only ten seconds to play. Northwest had a good look at the bucket in the final seconds, but fell short and Evergreen came out on top 89-88. It was a great, fast paced, hard fought, emotional game by both teams.

However, the Northwest University students took it a little too far by basically challenging the guy that was sitting next to me - who admittedly was taunting after the buzzer - to a fight. Ummm...NU is a hardcore Christian college - lots of ministerial training going on there - perhaps they should look at their wristbands and ask themselves, WWJD? Punch a Greener because he had the gall to tell you it would be a long walk home? I think not.

On a lighter note, I am so jealous that I can not pull off the spiderweb haircut.


Happy Birthday Adelaide!

Posted by Brandon |

Happy belated birthday Adelaide! Yesterday was Addie's first birthday, I can't believe it.

This has been an awesome year. Being a daddy is even better than I ever expected it to be and being a stay-at-home dad for the majority of that time has been super rewarding. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have a blast with her every day and I'm so excited for another great year in which she'll start walking and talking and growing and all of that good stuff.

Yeah, she had a little too much cake and ice cream.